Patients who are hoping to see a family physician for a routine physical may wait anywhere from five days in Dallas to 66 days in Boston, according to a report on physician appointment wait times from Merritt Hawkins. To replicate the experience of someone new to the community or new to an insurance plan, researchers called a minimum of 10 physician practices per specialty per metropolitan area to request the first available new patient appointment in cardiology, dermatology, orthopedic surgery, ob-gyn and family practice. They also asked if the physician accepted Medicaid or Medicare. Key findings include:
• Average cumulative wait time to see a physician for all five specialties surveyed in all 15 markets was 20 days.
• At 45 days, Boston has the highest cumulative average wait time for an appointment in the 15 cities surveyed. At 10 days, Dallas has the lowest cumulative average wait time.
• The average wait time to see an ob-gyn ranged from a high of 46 days in Boston to a low of 10 days in Seattle.
• The average wait time to see a dermatologist ranged from a high of 72 days in Boston to a low of 16 days in Miami.
• The average wait time to see a cardiologist ranged from a high of 32 days in Washington, D.C., to a low of 11 days in Atlanta.
• The average wait time to see an orthopedic surgeon ranged from a high of 18 days in San Diego to a low of five days in Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Houston.
• The cumulative average rate of Medicaid acceptance by physicians in all five specialties and in all 15 markets was 46 percent, down from 55 percent in 2009 and 50 percent in 2004. For Medicare, the rate of acceptance was 76 percent.
For more, go to www.merritthawkins.com.